Announcements,  Blogging

Now in session: The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals!

The Ninth Circuit

Just before Christmas, I announced that this blog would be spinning off a new blog, The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals, with the start of the new year. I’m pleased to announce that The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals is now in session. This is the follow-up post I promised about how I reached the decision to split this blog and my plans for managing both of them.

First, an explanation as to why I am resuming blogging on a more regular basis. As regular readers recall, my blogging frequency dropped off dramatically in 2009. I posted from time to time, but not with the regularity and enthusiasm with which

I started this blog in spring of 2007. (Then again, I’m not sure any solo blogger could have kept up that pace for long.)

A funny thing happened while I was away from this blog.

Traffic doubled. People called and hired me after finding me through the blog. And, while I was worried that the drop off in my blogging would eventually catch up to me, and that I would be passed by other California appellate bloggers, it turns out many of them — the practicing attorneys, anyway — blogged even less than I did!

Now, all of that might suggest the whimsical view that infrequent blogging is the key to success! But I don’t look at it that way. I see the past year as evidence that renewed and consistent blogging will bring even more traffic and help reestablish my blogging niche. That way, I won’t be embarrassed at the state of the blog the next time I get mentioned at Lexblog.

Why spin off The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals?

There was one thing that was missing, or at least very infrequent, about the traffic generated by this blog: inquiries about

Ninth Circuit appeals. Virtually all my inquiries were about California state court appeals. When I did get an out-of-state inquiry, it was often for an appeal in some state court where I am not admitted to practice, or an appeal in another federal circuit.

That made me think that federal subject matter posted on this blog is hidden from the typical internet researcher. Who is going to look for information about federal appeals on a blog called The Calfornia Blog of Appeal, even if it shows up in their search results?

The new blog is an effort to reach those readers. It seems to me that someone with a federal case in Arizona who turns up a result on The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals is far more likely to look at it than at the identical content on The California Blog of Appeal, especially if that someone is a lawyer familiar with the terminology. (A fair number of my inquiries come from lawyers rather than their clients.) But even a party with little knowledge of the court system is likely to have learned from his trial lawyer that his appeal is to the Ninth Circuit.

I’ve taken steps (amateur ones) to “SEO” the new blog. That’s “search engine optimization” for you non-techies. And its designed to draw ninth circuit traffic like flies. I hope.

What should regular readers expect here?

The state-federal division between the blogs isn’t as simple as it sounds. You lawyers out there can think of it as the Erie

doctrine for blogs. The question I face is similar to that faced by the Erie court both in the nature of the split and the difficulty of answering the question: when does a post belong on the state court blog The California Blog of Appeal and when does it belong on the federal court blog The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals?

Well, the easy answer is that posts about federal cases go on  The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals and those about California state court cases go on The California Blog of Appeal. The problem is, that is the easy answer, not necessarily a good one. Too many posts transcend jurisdiction.

For starters, what about cases that affect the law in both court systems? For example, a case where the Ninth Circuit certifies a question to the California Supreme Court? Or a United States Supreme Court case regarding constitutional criminal procedure that governs all criminal cases, state or federal?

In addition, I’ve blogged about many things besides developing case law. Legal humor, legal technology, legal education , and even law practice and marketing are occasional topics here. I blog about legal writing and legal research quite a bit. I even blog about blogging and note the occasional oddity.

So, I’ve been pondering for several weeks how to divide these seemingly transcendant posts between the blogs, and I’ve come up with a hard and fast rule: I’m going to wing it. But I’m going to wing it with an eye towards taking care of my regular readers. I may cross-post some posts at both blogs. I may write a summary on one blog that links to the full post on the other. I ma

y try to put a slightly different spin on the same post at the respective blogs. The lighter and more personal posts are likely to be posted here. Until I establish some kind of rhythm, my principle concern will be not to make the transition too jarring for my regular visitors. My apologies in advance for any inconvenience.

There is, however, one way to make sure you don’t miss anything. Subscribe to both RSS feeds! (State and Federal.)

So, go read my introductory post at The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals, poke around a bit, and feel free to offer any suggestions for improvement.

Finally, within the next week or so I will be converting The California Blog of Appeal to a new theme that complements the theme at The Ninth Circuit Blog of Appeals and will allow me to implement better search engine optimization. My target date for the new theme is Monday, January 11.  You may find this blog down occasionally until you see it with the new theme